Ryan Adams has been getting in touch with his inner Morrissey this week, pleading with his fellow Twitter travelers to make their Thanksgiving celebrations non-carnivorous. One such tweet is here on the right, but Ryan’s save-the-animals request has not been universally well-received. One wag called him out with a quip: “Remind us how many leather jackets you have?”
I choose to remember a more innocent time, way back in 1999, when Ryan was a lad of 25 and not yet into a vegetarian (or at least healthy-eating) phase. That year, he previewed Thanksgiving at his house with a highly entertaining post to the old No Depression folder, which I’ve reproduced below verbatim:
Turkey with ALL the fixings
Rusty nails and Oyster soup is good and can be served with a hodge-podge of many different things. Some might say crackers with gloop may fit the plate nicely to add a touch of rural flavoring, while others may prefer Roedung Rye Chippers with bugs. Myself, I usually stir up a blended mix of mayonaise-dirty lentil dressing, done up third world style with grits and mac and cheese power flavoring and onion soup packette with ketchup and goop zebra extract.
theres really no way to serve this up wrong. its a hit at the dinner table everytime
As pick-me-ups go, seeing Lyle Lovett chime in approvingly on Twitter about a nice review of one’s book is something I’d recommend.
No Depression has already been exceedingly kind to “Comin’ Right at Ya” on several occasions, including some much-appreciated year-end love last month. And here’s another really nice bit, a very fine review penned by No Depression’s book critic Henry Carrigan in his column The Reading Room. It yields up a terrific little soundbite that I just love, too:
Benson is a hell of a great storyteller who grabs our attention with a great anecdote, entertains us with the story behind it and then moves on to the next tale, keeping us turning pages eager for the next chapter of his chronicle.
With Christmas approaching and holiday buying season in full effect — hint, hint — yearend best-of lists are beginning to roll in. And I’m happy to note that “Comin’ Right at Ya” has made it onto a really nice countdown alongside some very choice company in No Depression’s book column, “The Reading Room’s Best Books of 2015” as compiled by Henry Carrigan (who was kind enough to include me in another column last month about bookish influences).
“Comin’ Right at Ya” appears at No. 15 on No Depression’s top-40, right between legendary Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty and “Dean of American Rock Critics” Robert Christgau. Heck yeah, I’ll take that — especially since we quoted a few of Christgau’s “Consumer Guide” reviews of various Asleep at the Wheel albums in the book.
Being at No. 15 also puts “Comin’ Right at Ya” ahead of Chrissie Hynde’s memoir “Reckless” at No. 18; my American Music Series colleague Chris Morris’ “Los Lobos: Dream in Blue” at No. 20; Texas country icon Willie Nelson’s “It’s a Long Story: My Life” at No. 35; and (how about that) my idol Greil Marcus’ “Real Life Rock: The Complete Top Ten Columns” at No. 39.
As for the books at the top end of No Depression’s list, the No. 1 placement of Peter Guralnick’s exhaustive and much-acclaimed “Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll” is no surprise. The same goes for Patti Smith’s “M Train” at No. 3 and Kristin Hersh’s gorgeously painful American Music Series title “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt,” plus memoirs by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon at No. 9 and Elvis Costello at No. 10.
I’d also like to note that it’s extremely cool to see my buddy Steve Knopper’s “MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson” come in two notches ahead of Ray Benson and me, at No. 13 — even though I don’t want him to be getting any ideas about that.
Tags: American Music Series, Chris Morris, Chrissie Hynde, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Don't Suck Don't Die, Elvis Costello, Greil Marcus, Henry Carrigan, John Fogerty, Kim Gordon, Kristin Hersh, Los Lobos, Michael Jackson, No Depression, Patti Smith, Peter Guralnick, Ray Benson, Real Life Rock Top Ten, Robert Christgau, Sam Phillips, Sonic Youth, Steve Knopper, The Reading Room, Vic Chesnutt, Willie Nelson
In one way or another, I’m constantly asking musicians and artists about their artistic influences when I’m doing interviews — but it’s unusual for someone to ask that of me. One of the few people to do so is Henry Carrigan, book columnist for No Depression, who asked me a few questions related to my own back pages in the course of putting together a piece about “Comin’ Right at Ya.”
Henry was kind enough to include my responses in a “Reading Room” column headlined “What Are You Reading?,” alongside a pretty august set of my fellow scribes: Tamara Saviano, who is currently working on a Guy Clark biography that I’m quite certain will be amazing; my American Music Series colleague David Cantwell; Jewly Hight, another writer I hope to coax into the AMS at some point; Geoffrey Himes, author of a very fine tome about Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.; and Alan Paul, who published an acclaimed Allman Brothers biography last year.
Check that here. Spoiler alert: My part contains what is probably the only paragraph you’ll ever read that references both “North Dallas Forty” and “The Lord of the Rings.” And of course, I also had to get in another plug for “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die,” too.
Tags: Alan Paul, Allman Brothers, American Music Series, Bruce Springsteen, David Cantwell, Don't Suck Don't Die, Geoffrey Himes, Guy Clark, Henry Carrigan, Jewly Hight, No Depression, North Dallas Forty, Tamara Saviano, The Lord of the Rings, The Reading Room
Between his latterday performances and disavowal of country music, it would be easy to get the idea that Ryan Adams has completely forgotten about his old band Whiskeytown and the alternative-country universe it once inhabited. But — maybe not!
Here’s a picture that turned up in No Depression editor Kim Ruehl’s inbox, in which Ryan sends birthday greetings for the old No Depression magazine’s 20-year anniversary. It was taken by photographer C. Elliot in Tucson, where Ryan played the other night (check this review).
Yes, there’s lots of history between Ryan and No Depression. A nice gesture, I’d say.
There’s another good “Losering” Q&A interview out, this one ably conducted by Chris Mateer for the Uprooted Music Revue — check that out. And in a bit of doubling up that I like a lot, the interview can also be found on the No Depression site.